Chelsea’s Chinese restaurant makes mountain comeback
April 15, 2014
Steamboat Springs — A bygone restaurant beloved by longtime Yampa Valley residents is making a comeback in Steamboat Springs.
Daryl "Dog" Levin worked for the original owner of Chelsea’s White Dragon Szechuan Cuisine in Oak Creek before buying the restaurant in 1991.
"I was probably one of few people that chef David Chen taught at the time," Levin said, referring to Chelsea's original chef. "I'm the only one who retained the recipes the whole time."
Levin sold Chelsea's in the late-1990s, but he's now looking to resurrect the Chinese-food restaurant and its reputation of cuisine worth traveling for.
This time, the drive will be considerably shorter for Steamboat residents: Chelsea's is moving into the commercial area in The Steamboat Grand across from the Gondola Transit Center.
Levin has partnered with Matt Fallon, who most recently worked at Sweetwater Grill, and they're shooting for a June opening date.
The menu will conjure memories of the original Oak Creek establishment, with hand-made pot stickers, egg foo yong and different kung paos and sweet and sour dishes made the way Chen taught Levin — except with no MSG.
The menu will be a little smaller than the original, Levin said, but the dishes not included on the standard menu will work their way in through specials.
"We will be offering the whole menu from old days, but not all at once," he said.
Levin said he'd be teaching Fallon the original recipes, as well. Fallon brings a younger crowd and experience bartending at multiple establishments, Levin said.
A couple people from the original Chelsea's also will be working at the place, Levin said, though he declined to say who so far, along with people he's worked with in other kitchens.
The restaurant will open with take-out and dinner service, but Levin said he hopes to have lunch service going by next winter. During the summer, a patio area will seat about 20 diners, he said, with space for about 40 inside.
Levin said he's trying to help revitalize the base area with the resurrection of Chelsea's.
The mountain is the icon of the Yampa Valley, he said, and the tear down of Ski Time Square left it with fewer businesses and things to do.
"We need to get things going back up here on the mountain," he said.
"We're bringing back something that was an original," Levin said. "All hand-crafted dinners, and that’s what we're bringing back."
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